Live from the 3.5, 2019 — Chapter 3: “Where You From?” — Why ‘Black Canadian’ isn’t JUST ONE THING.

“You think we all Jamaican, when nuff man are Trinis
Bajans, Grenadians and a hole heap of Haitians
Guyanese and all of the West Indies combined
To make the T dot O dot, one of a kind”

— Kardinal Offishall, “BaKardi Slang”, Firestarter, Vol. 1: Quest for Fire (2000)

It took a long time for me to understand that all Black Canadians don’t act like Jamaicans do. Yes, we might make up a good chunk of Black Canadians (25.8% of them), and Jamaicans are who I mostly grew up around, but we’re far from all that Black Canada has to offer.

A Culture of People from Every Which Place

Live from the 3.5, 2019 — Chapter 3 — "Where You From?" — Why 'Black Canadian' isn't JUST ONE THING. — Black_Canadians_at_Queens_Park_(detail)
Detailed Photo of a Group of Blades at Queens Park | Source

You won’t get a complete picture of the Black Canadian population by studying the list of ethnic origins from the 2016 Census, but it lists about twenty different Caribbean roots and sixty across Africa—there’s a whole world of Black people beyond the ones occupying 10,992 square kilometres in the western Caribbean.

With so much diversity in our population, one could almost say it’s justified—curious Black and non-Black Canadians alike asking where you’re from not as where you currently live in the Great White North, but from where your lineage came from before.

Live from the 3.5, 2019 — Chapter 3 — "Where You From?" — Why 'Black Canadian' isn't JUST ONE THING. — montego-bay-painting-landscape-in-jamaica
A painting of a Jamaican landscape. Source

But that question’s not as simple as it seems since not all Black Canadians showed up so recently.

Yes, the 1976 Immigration Act opened the floodgates, allowing for more Black Canadians than ever before, but long before that, Black Americans fled here to seek refuge from the persecution and discrimination down south, and we shouldn’t readily forget that. They didn’t arrive to a perfect existence, don’t get me wrong, but they’ve been here as their part of our national fabric for as long as Canada’s been around—so when you ask where they’re from, the only answer is here.

Being Black in the Great White North

We don’t talk a lot about Black Canadian history, and that’s probably because so much of it was so horrible.

We had segregation. Just look at Viola Desmond, convicted after refusing to leave a whites-only area of the Roseland Theatre in 1946. And though we shake our finger at the United States and their centuries-long enslavement of Black people, we were doing the same thing in Canada for just about as long—the only difference is that Canada hadn’t established itself yet as the country we know today. No—Canada isn’t quite the utopia we make it out to be for its 1.2 million Black Canadians, but we work hard to thrive with the little bit we’ve got.

A Quick Idea of What it’s Like to be a Minority with a Loose Idea of their Identity.

Born and raised just outside of Toronto, Canada—our most populous city with the largest concentration of Black Canadians—I grew used to the idea that I wouldn’t see myself represented in the world around me.

It’s probably better now, but back in the ’90s, being Black and smart just drew comparisons with Steven Q. Urkel. And I’d argue that before we became more Americanized with a basketball team, access to BET and the meteoric rise of Drake, we struggled to find an identity that worked past our discrete pasts into something decidedly “Black Canadian”. We had Caribana. The various neighbourhoods we made our own. But we also had limitations on our educational and work experience from abroad. And continual discrimination from those wary of giving up their way of life. This country’s not only made it tough for Black Canadians to find themselves, but also to get ahead and redefine themselves.

But it’s not all bad.

Live from the 3.5, 2019 — Chapter 2 — Being Black in the Great White North — Casey and His Brothers as Youths

With Black Canadians holding down five of the 338 seats in the House of Commons (1.5%), six of the 124 seats in Ontario’s Parliament (4.8%), and one of the 25 seats in Toronto’s city council (4%), we’re starting to see representation. Sure, we’re not at every table. We often feel ignored. But, we’ll never be heard if we give up.

There’s no magic solution to make being Black in Canada any easier, but at the very least we’re building the stage for a future where little Black boys and girls can dream bigger than they ever have before.

Errol Elumir | I Don’t Want to Talk to Anyone; Just Give Me the Puzzles! | Chatting with Casey 0014

If there’s one thing podcasting teaches you, it’s flexibility.

My conversation with Errol dates a few weeks back when I had to reschedule my recording with Richard Badra and went to Facebook in search of volunteers. And so, dozens of friends later, I remembered a conversation I had with Errol one Sunday and soon found myself driving the four minutes to his place to record a podcast about escape rooms, anime, and the utter joy that’s nerd culture in general.

As you’ll discover in the episode, I meant to put it out in mid-November, but I had to push it back. Richard had his #RebelGiving Twitter Party on the 20th. Rob Tinkler’s 8 Tiny Reindeer was out December 1st, so a release on the 3rd would be too late. It quickly became clear to me that I needed to be more flexible with my recordings and not say things to tie myself down to a specific time in the process.

So, to Errol, I do apologise, but what’s important is that we’re here, and Episode 14’s finally out to the world so everyone else can enjoy a conversation I found hilarious.

Chatting with Casey 14 Featuring Errol Elumir — Because Nerds Must Stand United!

Though it wasn’t all that cool when I was growing up, nerd culture’s come into its own this past decade, glamorising things we enjoyed in smaller social circles away from society’s judgmental eyes. Board games. Comics. Japanese anime and American cartoons. So much of it defined who I am today, but I dabbled in it less over time, becoming the adult society wanted me to be—or at least, that’s what I thought I needed to do.

But men like Errol give me hope that the world’s finally changing. That men can be into nerdy things and still respected as the cool Dads they are. I laughed harder in this podcast than I had in a long time, and I think you will too when you hear some of his stories!

So settle in, relax, and make sure you’ve already visited the loo—this one will hit you right in the funny bone, and you’ve got to get yourself ready.

Carlos Diaz & Rob Tinkler | It Takes Two to Tango in Friendship | Chatting with Casey S01E13

It’s always nice to take a break from our lives and spend a little time on vacation, but when you own your own business, you need to plan for that.

Eight Tiny Reindeer, Two Great Friends, One Awesome Episode!

One thing 2018’s taught me is that I need to get ahead of my schedule if I ever want to spend any time apart from it.

Chatting With Casey 0013 — It Takes Two to Tango in Friendship — Rob, Casey and Carlos

The last third of this year’s had me hustle to get everything off my plate, knowing that as soon as the holidays finish, I have substantial obstacles ahead. So I’ve been working days, weeks and even months ahead to create my best content to avoid ever being backed into a corner again.

And this podcast episode’s no exception.

Recorded on November 15, 2018, after plenty of texts back and forth between Carlos Diaz and myself, Chatting with Casey episode 13 started up with a misbehaving SD card, quick sprints to Shoppers and Rexall, and the hope that one day I get myself a studio so I can do these conversations justice.

But regardless, it was a great convo between Carlos Diaz, Rob Tinkler and myself, and I hope you’ll be ready when 8 Tiny Reindeer debuts this Saturday—may you enjoy listening to it as much as these guys did making it!

But for now, you can hear all about it on the podcast!

Richard Badra | In a Nutshell, What Craft Chocolate’s All About! | Chatting with Casey S01E12

As an entrepreneur, people will often tell you that you can’t do something, and you need to do whatever’s in your power to prove them wrong.

While we didn’t cover the naysayers in his life, I’m sure Richard Badra can relate—leaving the stable world of accounting for the scrappy world of craft chocolate, I’m sure there were more than a few people who thought he lost his marbles.

But if you ask me, passion always wins out.

Chatting with Casey 0012 — In a Nutshell, What Craft Chocolate's All About! — Richard Badra at Work
Photo courtesy of Anna Epp Photography

When I met Richard at the Blissdom conference, I instantly understood that he stood behind Rebel Chocolates. I decided early on that I had to have him on the podcast, but I didn’t want to do some filler episode about chocolate.

But there’s a lot going on that so many of us never even think about, like the allegations of modern slavery in West Africa linked to 95% of the world’s chocolate production. Or that Canada’s making chocolate that competes on an international level, with brands like Hummingbird and Sirene taking awards from European companies who’ve been at this for hundreds of years. Richard wants you to learn about one of Canada’s best-kept secrets, and on Chatting with Casey’s thirteenth episode, he’s here to tell you all about it.

So sit back, grab your favourite snack, and get ready to learn a ton—there’s a lot to be said in this episode; I hope you all enjoy it!

Happy listening, and if you like what you heard, do make sure to like, rate, share and subscribe. In all honesty, it’s people like you who keep this show going, so make sure to show your support so I know I’m not just speaking to myself!

Thanks for stopping by, and until the next, I remain,

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